The Difference Between a Partner and a Supplier Back The Difference Between a Partner and a Supplier

The distinction between supplier and partner is often not well understood, but each has a role in helping you achieve your goals.

A supplier is often selected through a traditional bidding process and provides goods or services in standardized transaction patterns for a period of time conforming to standard terms and conditions. When the transactions end, the business relationship ends.

A partner, on the other hand, is a tailored business relationship based on mutual trust, openness, and shared risk and reward that yields a competitive advantage. Partners often participate in product design processes across organizational and geographic boundaries. Partnerships are fluid, flexible relationships that depend on honesty and integrity to succeed.

Of course, not all relationships between businesses fall into these two specific categories. Many are somewhere in the spectrum of relationships that range from a single purchase order with clear-cut deliverables to long term open-ended arrangements that often involve new technologies and/or new markets.

The key to your success lies in the abilities to select the right business partner for each business need. When your need is for a clear-cut deliverable that can be easily defined up front, such as the supply of a standard component for your product, a routine “supplier relationship” makes sense. However, when your task involves uncertainty around features, technologies, timing, and costs, a partner makes good business sense to ensure a successful outcome. Not all suppliers make good business partners so careful consideration is necessary to ensure the relationship can be managed over the long term.

Consider these distinctive benefits to adopting the partnership model which can help you:

  1. Achieve a leadership position against your competitors.
  2. Shorten time to market.
  3. Gain production efficiency
  4. Attain mutually beneficial cost reductions.
  5. Find ways to reduce price.
  6. Increase market share and competitive advantage.

Read the Q&A with Greg Newey, Vice President of Engineering to learn how Accu-Fab distinguishes itself from suppliers through its partnership relationships with client.

How can we help you gain competitive advantage and manufacturing efficiencies? Contact us to discuss your needs with our qualified specialists or call 919-212-6400.